Continental launches NY-Shanghai flights

18 Aug 2008 by Mark Caswell

Airlines will begin non-stop flights from New York to Shanghai from next March.

The route will be
the carrier’s second non-stop destination from New York to mainland China (it
has served Beijing since 2005, and also flies direct to Hong Kong). Flights
will start on March 25, 2009 (subject to goverment approval), with the
Shanghai-bound leg departing Newark at 1120 and arriving at 1345 the next day.
The return flight will leave Shanghai at 1545, arriving back in to the US at

Continental will
ply the route using 777-200 aircraft, with a flight time of around 14 and a
half hours in both directions. From autumn of next year the carrier will begin
the rollout of its new fully-flat business class product on its 777 aircraft
(see online news July 29), and ahead of this Continental is also introducing
audiovisual-on-demand facilities across its 777 fleet. The rollout of the AVOD
system, which includes over 250 movies and 1,500 music tracks, is due to be completed
by May 2009, and will feature on the New York-Shanghai flights.

The new route
comes after the carrier announced cutbacks in June, including the dropping of
its first transatlantic flights (New York-Cologne) since the aftermath of 9/11.

Continental has
confirmed it will swap Skyteam for Star Alliance next year (see online news
June 20), and the new link with Shanghai will feed conveniently into fellow
Star member Shanghai Airlines’ hub. However, the alliance move is not likely to
happen until the fourth quarter of 2009, as Continental must first see out
contractual obligations with Northwest and Delta, which in turn extend several
months past the completion of the pair’s merger.

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